“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy,
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Interview with the Inspiring “Godmother” of the You Matter Marathon
The idea for the You Matter Marathon began when a colleague gave me a You Matter card.
She had picked it up from a reception table at a conference she had attended. She later learned that another conference attendee, Vicki O’Grady, a therapist from Florida, had placed the cards there for others to take. Turns out Vicki has been giving out You Matter cards in the Orlando area for years and having a ton of fun doing it.
Vicki graciously shared her You Matter journey with me and I am delighted to share it with you.
Vicki, I know you give out thousands of You Matter cards a month in Orlando, Florida. That’s spectacular. When and how did this come about?
I started out holding up signs in traffic that said, “Thank you” and “Sorry”. I then gave out Post-it notes in the shape of hearts everywhere I went and started holding up a heart sign in traffic at intersections. A friend of mine, a street preacher, holds up a sign that says, “Be encouraged” and told me that a man told him his sign kept him from committing suicide. Because I have been in that dark place myself, I decided to change my sign to “You Matter” because I think that so many people don’t know that they do matter and want to give up on life. When Robin Williams died, I was devastated and came up with the idea of the You Matter business cards. I distribute about 10,000 a month.
Who do you give the cards to?
I give them to random people everywhere.
I put them on cars.
I put them in the envelopes with my bills (yes, I still use checks).
I leave them in restaurants and other stores, and
I mail them anonymously to certain celebrities and other people who inspire me.
Can you share a story or two of a particularly moving reaction you’ve received from giving out a You Matter card?
A lot of people hug me and say “God bless you.” Once I was in a grocery store parking lot and saw a young guy who seemed like he was looking to break into a car. I watched him as he peered into empty cars. Another lady walked up to me and said “It looks like he’s up to no good” to which I agreed. He was headed toward a liquor store and I walked up to him and asked if I could give him something. He said “yes”. I gave him the card and told him that he matters and it’s going to be ok and he does not have to worry. I don’t know what happened after that, but it made a big difference to me.
Why do you think sharing You Matter cards is important now given all the other challenges we’re facing?
The most important thing to me right now is trying to give meaning and hope to people’s lives, especially with all of the pain, fear, discouragement and unrest. Giving out the cards is the hope I have that I can do something for another human being. I need it and I think others need to hear it.
How do you share You Matter cards and while staying physically distant?
I ask people if I can give them a YM card and hold my arm out as far as I can. So far not one person has recoiled. I think the important thing is getting people’s permission.
What has the impact of giving out cards been on you?
It gives my life meaning and makes me feel that I matter. It is the greatest joy in my life other than my family and friends.
Thank you for your inspiration, Vicki.
You can reach Vicki through Facebook at the You Matter Compassion Project.
Cheryl Rice, Founder